Monday, May 27

Total Solar Eclipse: Everything You Need To Know

Edited by Dileep Kumar S

Solar eclipse chasers will have a magnificent experience of the total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024 that will be visible from the US, Mexico and Canada. On Monday, according to scientists, umbraphiles or eclipse enthusiasts will have a brief moment of spectacle as the moon passes in front of the Sun.

Total Solar Eclipse: Time

According to NASA or National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the United States government agency responsible for the nation’s civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research, the longest duration of totality (the path of totality is where observers will see the Moon completely cover the Sun) is 4 minutes, 28 seconds, near Torreón, Mexico. The agency said most places along the centerline (path of totality) will see a totality duration between 3.5 and 4 minutes.

What will happen?

When the Moon entirely obscures the Sun, the sky will darken, resembling either dawn or dusk. Individuals witnessing only a partial solar eclipse will notice a slight darkening of the sky relative to its pre-eclipse state, varying with the extent to which the Moon obstructs the Sun in their specific location.

Trajectory of Total Solar Eclipse 2024

Trajectory of Total Solar Eclipse 2024 (Image: NASA)

The trajectory of the eclipse starts in Mexico, crosses into the United States through Texas, and traverses through Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Additionally, certain areas of Tennessee and Michigan will also witness the total solar eclipse. Upon entering Canada, it will pass through Southern Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Cape Breton. The eclipse will conclude its journey across continental North America on the Atlantic coast of Newfoundland, Canada, at 5:16 p.m. NDT.

What makes this Total Solar Eclipse distinctive?

While all solar eclipses involve the Moon positioned between the Sun and Earth, they vary in nature. Unlike the total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017, the shadow cast by the moon in this year’s eclipse is larger due to the moon’s closer proximity to Earth. As a result, sky watchers will not only witness total darkness but also experience a longer duration of darkness.

The first Solar Eclipse recorded

As per NASA, one of the earliest documented instances of a total solar eclipse dates back to 1375 BCE. This eclipse, known as the Ugarit Eclipse, is recorded in Early Mesopotamian Records, which describe: “On the day of the new moon, in the month of Hiyar, the Sun was put to shame, and went down in the daytime, with Mars in attendance.”

Total Solar Eclipse: 10 Trivia

  1. Venus will be visible 15 degrees west-southwest of the sun 10 minutes before totality, shining more than five times brighter than Jupiter.
  2. Jupiter will appear approximately 30 degrees to the east-northeast of the sun during totality, possibly even a few minutes prior.
  3. Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks, featuring a distinctive circular gas cloud and a long tail, may be visible about six degrees to the right of Jupiter.
  4. During the eclipse, a phenomenon known as a “360-degree sunset” can occur, casting a sunset-like glow in all directions.
  5. Observations by John Gianforte, director of the University of New Hampshire Observatory, indicate that animals, including dogs, cats, and birds, may exhibit unusual behavior when the sky suddenly darkens.
  6. The next total solar eclipse in the U.S. is slated for March 30, 2033, with totality anticipated to pass over parts of Alaska.
  7. Subsequently, the next eclipse within the contiguous 48 states is forecasted for August 12, 2044, with Montana and North Dakota experiencing totality.
  8. The 2024 eclipse coincides with the sun’s “solar maximum” phase, characterized by heightened solar activity during its approximately 11-year cycle.
  9. Solar eclipses offer a rare opportunity to view the sun’s corona, its outer atmosphere, typically obscured by the sun’s brightness.
  10. Approximately 31.6 million individuals reside within the path of totality for the 2024 eclipse, a significant increase from the 12 million inhabitants within the path during the 2017 eclipse.